UnNews:Scientists propose one-way trips to Mars
|UnNews Audio (file info)|
|Listen to this story!|
15 November 2010
"We've run the numbers," says Professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State. "It cuts fuel costs almost in half." The astronauts would stay and colonize Mars, something the scientists called a hedge against a catastrophe on earth. Mars has "gravity, a little sunlight, abundant water, probably, and something to breathe," he said.
Co-author Paul Davies of Arizona State warned that the safety-obsessed NASA should not see this as a suicide mission. "It's not suicide if it's part of the program plan." He said many of the colonists came to America never expecting to return. Since then, however, the nation has made problematic strides, such as a ban on slavery, laws that let workers quit their jobs, and protections against lethal radiation in the workplace.
President Obama has not backed one-way flights, but he once told NASA that "by the mid-2030s, we could send humans to orbit Mars and safely return them to Earth." Indeed, it might not take two decades to sell taxpayers on a project to go such a long distance and return without accomplishing anything. Davies cited the President's own Far East trip.
Alternately, the private sector might step up. "What we would need is an eccentric billionaire," he said. Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos have invested in space travel. However, none of them returned requests for comment, and all have projects on the drawing boards that would not let them be away from the desk for eternity.
- Associated Press "Scientists propose one-way trips to Mars". Boston Herald, November 15, 2010